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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  December 10, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EST

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training civil administration understandably after three decades of conflict, low literacy rates, we did not in 2002 begin with a strong base. we're making progress in that area and fourth new jersey the way we deliver our aid programs in the fairness to the afghan government currently for the afghan community. 80 percent of funds don't go through afghan. the united states government is really the leading element in trying change that so. when we talk about the accountability of the government of afghanistan it really does require a partnered approach. behind all of that though senator as your asking in your question, leadership at the top and commitment is absolutely vital. we're encouraged by president karzai's inaugural address and what he's said will be his plan of action but we'll wait deeds over the next year.
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>> that an office set up for president karzai? >> by the government of an afghanistan, it was set up one year ago senator to deal with corruption. there is, my understanding that there was a press-conference today in kabel. i'll have to check on that. . strative organization, trying to give it more teeth. >> so their legislative branch created that, not president karzai? >> i'll have to go back for the record. but at least the manning of the high offices of oversight comes for the executive branch, senator. i don't know what the legislative base of it is. but if president karzai decide to put more emphasis in that we're prepared to work in partnership and offer support.
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>> from everything i have seen when i've been to afghanistan as well as what some of my georgia soldiers have told me who have soldiers have told me who have deployed and come back if we revirs the taliban, disrupt the taliban, if we don't improve the government and the image of the government with their people and security, we're still not going to be successful. is that right? >> that's correct. senator. we have two efforts at the national level. some of those programs are more comprehensive. the lynch pen is going to be at the district level. at the local level. we're working closely with the government of afghanistan to innovate and try to figure out the best combinations of the delivery of very basic government, security, justice, and those essential services like health and education in rural areas, in areas where right now our troops are operating where the insurgency is in the south and the east in
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order to achieve that end that you've articulated. the need for governance to follow in. >> the success of iraq and the example set by maliki and the government to be able to take over responsibilities once the insurgency was reversed is evidence of the same thing we have to accomplish in afghanistan. although in a much different way because of the history and nature of that country. and i commend you all on what your effort is. >> it was established by presidential decree. it doesn't have a legislative basis. >> thank you. particularly, general petraeus, i'm one of those who understand that never have so few been asked to bear so much of the
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sacrifice. we have defined our national security as having stability and security in afghanistan in our own national interest. is that correct? >> our overriding objectedive is to ensure they don't reestablish a sanction ware in afghanistan, such as 9/11. >> we want safety and security there. >> the way to ensure the overriding interest is to have a country that is not a failed state and allows that to happen.
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so if that is the case, then what follows is that why we are aspirational as to whether president karzai will meet the starve standards of eliminating corruption. i know you wrote sections of his commitment. we will still be in the same national security paradigm. if he fails to have the good governance we want. if he fails to support the creation of afghan level of troops and police and the quality of them to carry out missions, we'll still be in the position that it will be our national security interest
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security and stable in afghanistan because we don't want another al qaeda. is that fair to say? >> yes. it is. >> so the problem is that part of the question is that dictates that we have a long-term obligation to afghanistan because we hope karzai will do everything that's right we may prod and poke and maybe try to direct money in different ways. at the end of the day, it depends upon an afghan government that can sustain itself. let me ask you then, do we agree with the comments made by president karzai that it may be as much as five years before his troops can take on insurgents in 2024, before the afghans will be able to pay for their own schurt?
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is his statement a fair one? >> it's not a light switch. >> is that a reasonable time frame? >> i can't talk about the long term time frame. that depends on how rapidly, obviously, they can generate much greater revenue and depends on security and infrastructure and so forth. certain it will be years before they can allow the bulk of our troopers to redeploy. our goal is of course to get that process going to create the situations with the capabilities they have of the taliban in those particular areas. >> if i factor out your previous answer assuming that the afghan got to certain levels of both police and troop strength?
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afterr and if it's true it will be 2024 before they can handle the bill themselves we're talking $150 billion just on the security side before we get to the development side. so at some point we need to get the price tag here so we understand what we're spending in the security context. that brings me to the questions of secretary, i think we've spent $13 million today. is that correct? >> roughly. >> roughly. okay. but all the testimony i hear leads me to believe after $13 billion we are basically starting from scratch. as it relates to development efforts.
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which is pretty alarming. i want to get a sense of how we are going to go from right now a clearly overwhelmingly military context to all of the statements that we need a government that can sustain itself and and then $13 million later without virtually any with virtually no success and think about you're going to triple, you say, your civilian core which to 900 some odd which means we have 300 some odd and i'm looking at all of this and the time frame and the money that has been spent and we haven't quantified what we're going to be looking on the civilian side. and, you know, i get rather anxious. >> senator, first, i think it is not correct to say that there is nothing to show for the past development program. >> tell me what we show. >> i think that before the development assistance that you're describing there was virtually no access to health care in afghanistan. there is very substantial access to health care in afghanistan,
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in the 80% range. there were virtually no girls enrolled in schools. there are now a lot of girls enrolled in school and more every day, every week, every month. i think it is fair to say we have an awful lot of work ahead of us, that the institution building, particularly at the governmental level and outside of kabul at the subnational level is a substantial challenge. i don't think it is quite the same as starting from scratch. if you look at the government that president karzai has, with all the problems that we spend a lot of time discussing, there are a lot of ministries and ministers who have been doing quite a good job. if you look at their agricultural program and where we're coming into to support their agricultural program, there is an agriculture minister who has a five-year plan that is a good plan. he's relight on the international community and usaid to be supporting their plan. that's not to say that it is easy. but the work is building on a foundation that is an
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afghan-driven agriculture plan, that's true in other ministries as well. not true in every ministry. in terms of the level of u.s. civilian presence, when we started at the beginning of the year, there were roughly 320 civilians on the ground. by the end of january, we're going to be close to 1,000. that's a very big difference in terms of the amount of programming that we have going on, not just in kabul, but in all of the provincial areas, the district areas, where we'll be teaming up on a day to day basis. i think that you're going to see very substantial change in the progress made and it is all tightly coordinated in a civilian-military plan where the civilians are going in right when the military is created the space for them to work. >> senator wicker? >> thank you very much. gentlemen, senator isakson was pursuing a line of questioning with regard to corruption. let me follow along. president karzai was expected yesterday to release his list of 25 cabinet members.
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i understand now that decision has been postponed until saturday. this issue has a lot to do with corruption. the president is under pressure to exclude corrupt ministers from his government. at the same time, it is reported that some powerful afghans who feel that they were instrumental in bringing about a tainted election victory feel they should participate in this government and other members of parliament see this list as karzai's first step, first test to clean up his government. in other news reports i hear that with regard to some afghans, heavy-handed though the taliban may be, and violent and repressive as they may be, some
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afghans prefer to see their form of order and certainty and decision-making over the endless process of having to grease the palms of official afghan governmental bureaucrats. general petraeus, do your people in the field see this? and mr. ambassador, would you comment about this? we have reports of afghan mines minister receiving a $30 million bribe from the chinese for making decisions favorable to the chinese. mr. ambassador, would you comment as to the credence of that as part of your answer and then, of course, we know the allegations about the first vice president-elect, mohammad fahim, reportedly being involved in the afghan narcotics trade. i view the corruption issue as a
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major factor in determining whether the afghan people are going to come around to supporting the government and getting rid of a regime, a taliban regime which admittedly has every reason to be unpopular on the surface. so mr. ambassador and then general, if you'd like to follow up. >> thanks, senator. the report about the naming of the cabinet, yes, we had anticipated it was going to be announced on tuesday and now we understand it has been postponed several days. i've heard that president karzai is working with the parliament to make a decision whether or not the entire package of minister should be named in one -- in one setting or should part be named and then the parliament will go on recess and the rest will be named afterwards. they do need parliamentary confirmation. i emphasize following on what secretary lew had said, the quality of the afghan ministries and the leadership of the @@@@@n
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these are worth -- world-class ministers in afghanistan who can do good. their challenge after three decades of war, such low literacy rates in the country, the absolute destruction of bureaucracy and organizations over the course of three decades, these are difficult tasks to try to run these ministries. i have confidence at the national level. i do not want to prejudge what ministers will be named. i'd think we will see a reinforcement of what is a pretty good list. improvements have to be made. the point about taliban justice is that you are correct, in areas where there is absolute corruption in the countryside, there is no legitimate
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government. the taliban can deliver a predictable justice. it is a brutal injustice which includes the chopping off of heads. very predictable justice. but it is a feudal, brutal justice that includes the chopping off of heads and hanging of so-called defenders in the market squares. that is not a brand of justice that the afghan people aspire to see return to their country. every poll that has been taken still since 2002 when afghanistan was liberated by the united states military forces and our allies, every poll still shows the taliban to be deeply unpopular. but when you reach a point in parts of afghanistan where the alternative is an absolutely repatience or brutal government alternative, then, of course, the taliban will find an opening. so our challenge and indeed the government of afghanistan's
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challenge is to construct legitimate alternatives to what is a very brutal taliban way of life and governance. >> all right. let me ask you then, general. i think i'll ask you to take my question for the record and let me see if i can squeeze in one more. of the 7,000 additional allied troop that have been promised, my understanding is that approximately 2,000 of them are already there. they were there to help with the elections. really only talking about an additional 5,000 troops. it has been well documented that restrictions placed by many countries on their troops in afghanistan will impact their mission there. so i would like to ask you to comment about that. will they be primarily trainers, will they primarily serve in support functions or will they be combat troops? and if a large portion of our
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allied of the additional 7,000 allied troops are restricted in their military activities, how will that impact their ability to provide assistance to our mission and to ensure victory in this effort. >> first of all, senator, additional 7,000 or so really are additional because the election forces were supposed to go home and if a country commits to extend them or to replace them, obviously that is in addition to their projection. they really are a mix across the board of combat forces, trainers, in some cases prt elements, support, so-called omelets, the military transition teams and so forth. and certainly some of those will be restricted by caveats. no question. this is not something new to afghanistan. though candidly when i was in bosnia as chief of operations i had a matrix on my desk that had
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all the countries down the left, list of tasks across the top and an x mark that filled the box as to whether that country could do that task in a certain location. >> same thing. >> same thing in iraq. and, again, we had to, you know, so general mcchrystal's challenge as was the challenge for the commander in iraq is to understand who can do what, employ them to the fullest extent possible and then figure out how to complement what it is that they can contribute with the actions of other forces that can truly do everything everywhere. >> what do you mean by -- >> senator, i have to interrupt. >> if the general could clarify whether some means a majority or -- >> clarify it but it would mean you have three minutes more than anybody else. clarify for the record or -- >> i would be happy to do that sir, thanks. >> we can do another round.
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there is no problem in that. i want to be fair to everybody here if we can. senator cardin. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. first, let me thank secretary lew and ambassador eikenberry and general petraeus for your service. you all are providing extraordinary talent to our nation and we thank you very much. general petraeus, i just really want to concur in your assessment of our military, the men and women who are serving under extremely difficult circumstances are the best in the history of america. and i appreciate the leadership. just to give you one example, i had a chance to talk to a maryland serviceman who is in afghanistan and he gave testimony to your assessments. and it was a -- just wonderful opportunity to see the spirit, see the commitment, and see the difference that our servicemen are making, our service people are making. so during the holiday time, particularly, we can never express our appreciation enough,
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sacrifices are tough anytime of the year. during the holidays, they're even more remarkable. and so i just really want to express that at this hearing. amazing how many of our senators have talked about the karzai government and corruption. and it has to do with all three of the objectives. if we're going to be able to achieve security in afghanistan, if we're going to be able to have governance in afghanistan, if we deal with the economic progress in afghanistan, it all depends upon having a partner that can work with us. we got to transition the security. we got to have governance of a country that respects the rights of its people, and we have to deal with economic development that if there is monies being taken through corruption, it is going to cost american taxpayer and international community and the afghan itself more than it should. so secretary lew, i just really want to challenge a statement you made. you said, we're going to hold them -- first you said we're going to have a policy against corruption and we're going to
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hold the afghan government accountable. how do you hold them accountable? what do you do if you find corruption? do you pull our soldiers out? do you cut off the money? how do you hold them accountable? >> i think secretary clinton testified last week it going to be a long-term challenge to end corruption in afghanistan. and we have to realistic expectations. and i think when we talk about holding them accountable, it means that we have to see where our mind is going and if it is not going to the right place, we move our money and put it through other channels. it means we have to have our auditors come in and not after we're done, but while we're implementing the program, be there side by side, so we can catch things early. it means that when -- >> that may work for particular projects and i think that plan needs to be implemented. but you find corruption at the highest levels that are not being dealt with. how do you hold the government accountable? >> i think that the conversations prior to the
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inaugural and the statements that were made and the actions taken after president karzai's inaugural reflect the kind of influence -- >> but if there is back tracking, if it doesn't work -- >> we have to maintain the pressure. we clearly have an interest in afghanistan that can't be achieved if we don't -- if progress is not made on this corruption issue. the, you know, we have seen promising signs, though there is more progress to be made. holding them accountable does not mean that a year from now or five years from now there will be zero corruption in afghanistan. >> there is not zero corruption in any country. we know that at the highest levels there is major reason for concern, that is compromising our ability to get our mission done. and i guess what concerns some that i agree with your statements. i just don't know how you hold president karzai and his top officials accountable if after all the efforts we make, we still find that there is corruption encouraged at the highest levels. >> to the extent there are investigations and ultimately
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indictments at the highest level it will do a lot to change -- >> but they don't. >> we have to work with them, and we have to make -- hold them accountable means driving it towards having it happen, not having it not happen. >> general petraeus, in response to senator corker talked about the objectives that we're trying to achieve. and i appreciate the way that you listed that. and then you talked about having a matrix as far as other countries' help. do we have a matrix? do we have specific objectives, benchmarks, whatever you want to call them, that we will be using to determine where we are next summer as to whether we're prepared to withdraw and how many soldiers are able to be redeployed? do we have specific expectations that are at least well known between the afghans and the americans and our allies? >> we don't have specifics,
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senator, in terms of we want to do this number of troops by this time or something like that. again, the president was quite clear that this is conditi conditions-based. >> i know that. do we have specifics as to what we're trying to achieve and that triggers the ability to -- >> we have -- >> reduce the numbers. >> we have specifics in what we're trying to achieve. we have an operational campaign plan to give you. one measure will be the increase of security, something we'll track by district, not just by province. and there is an operational campaign plan and we can track that and you should ask certainly general mcchrystal in the closed session today i think would be a great opportunity to get a layout of what it is, how he's thinking through the operational piece of that. >> i'll tell general mcchrystal that you told us it was okay for him to give us -- >> tell him -- he's a couple of
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years behind me, i buddied him. he -- then also of course we will have specific goals for the afghan national security force growth over time. that is yet another met ri metr. these will be somewhat similar to the kinds of analysis that we did in iraq where you look at a host of different factors in a district's area including local governance, including the economic situation, political situation in addition to the security situation because they are all, of course, related. as you know, you're either spiraling upward or spiraling downward. and the spiral is not just all security factors. it is also local markets coming back to life. it might be the traditional less extreme tribal leader returns and is more solidified and that
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kind of thing. >> thank you. thank you. >> i make this comment, any one of the three of you can comment on it, but i've been rather hoping after the president thought about this for some time that we would have a clearer picture than what we have. and i, with all due respect, i'm just not getting a clear picture. i listen to the president very carefully and he told us we would start leaving in july of 2011. then i asked gates about it the next day and he said it was a target. i don't know where we are. are we in? or are we out? they talk about reviewing at this time or another time. the thing that really bothered me was i listened to karzai yesterday stand alongside gates and he starts talking about 15 years. i don't know whether he wasn't listening to the president or what. the president said we're not going to give an open-ended commitment there. well, probably to karzai 15 years isn't an open-ended commitment. i got to tell you, to the people
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of the united states, 15 years is an open-ended commitment. i don't know whose job it is to sit down with them and look him in the eye and say, look, you're dreaming this is not going to happen. we need a lot more clarity than what we're getting. i don't -- i have every confidence that our united states military have given a mission, they will go in, will accomplish that mission, but unfortunately it seems like always the military mission gets mixed with what our overall goals are there. and i'm just not happy about what's come out of the last -- about what's come out of the last week. i was sincerely hoping we would get there. so have at it, whoever wants to comment on it. >> why don't i start, senator, and just to talk about the difference between, you know, july 2011 and the nature of our long-term commitment to afghanistan. the president did not say july 2011 our relationship with afghanistan would end. it would be the beginning of
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afghanistan taking over areas that would give the military -- our military the ability to begin to draw down. i think that all of us see a long-term relationship with afghanistan, particularly on the civilian side that is going to have to go on for many years. the questions that have been raised about the magnitude of the commitment, those are serious questions, we take them very seriously. we're not in this alone. it is an international effort. we have to work with international partners to take this responsibility, not just on the united states. i think that the signal that we're sending is very clear that the buildup of troops is headed towards a crescendo and will start to come down. there will be other parts. if you look at iraq, we're building up certain civilian capacities in iraq right now as our military withdraws. so we're taking over certain responsibilities. i think we have to look at the different parts of it separately and it shouldn't be a source of confusion. it is progress when the military is able to leave and civilian programs can step in and have a
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more normal relationship. >> i couldn't agree with you more. the difficulty is i really question whether you're going to have the same security situation in afghanistan that you have in iraq right now looking forward to july of 2011. i hope i'm wrong. but in addition to that, the financial commitment to stand up their army and police, particularly over the period of time that karzai is talk about it, i don't think the american people are going to accept that. >> senator, if i could, just talk about what secretary lew had said, our goal is -- we'll agree, is on as rapidly as possible have an afghan government that can provide for the security of their own people and provide sanctuary for al qaeda. the july 2011 date is very important in one regard. the afghan people, they're very insecure people given their history, given the neighborhood they live in. at the same time, 80 years after
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arrival, there is a growing sense that they want to take charge, want to take control of their sovereignty. there is a desire among the afghans to lead with security, to build their police and their army. president karzai, in his inaugural address, was very clear when he said a goal, five years from now, he wants afghanistan security forces to be in charge throughout the country. that's a good goal that we should be reinforcing. this july 2011 date is in a sense a good forcing function for the afghans now in partnership with us to stand up and accelerate the development of their army and police. so at that point in time, they're ready to transition, start taking lead for security and certain parts of the country. the final point i would make here, senator, longer term what does this all mean? we don't know how long and what type of security assistance program we're going to need in afghanistan. we know it is going to have to be a long-term program. we don't know the level. as time moves on, we'll see if
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they have a better understanding of what is their exact requirements, but what we also know as well is that for every one u.s. army soldier or marine that is deployed to afghanistan right now, the cost ratio of that versus afghan police and army on the ground, it must be on the order of 20, 30 or 40 to 1. a pretty good investment. >> again, i come back to the president talked about july of 2011. kardz karzai is talking about five year before they're ready to take it over. who is going to take it over between july of 2011 and the five years that president karzai is talking about? >> i don't want to -- i think president karzai's inaugural address it said security throughout the country, a very comprehensive control of the security throughout the country. >> i wanted to add to that. i was going to statement the same thing. what was envisioned in july of 2011 is the beginning of transition, what president
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karzai is talking about, something that is much more comprehensive. and if i could also just say, senator, again, i hope you'll be able to attend the session with general mcchrystal this afternoon. i think you'll get ougt of that some clarity. we know what the campaign is and we know what the plan is to work with our civilian partners from ambassador iceikenberry's embas. >> thank you for your extraordinary service and sacrifice and i know you must be a proud father as well. your son's commission, we know about that. and secretary lew, we appreciate your service and your availability. i know we tend to call off from over here. we're grateful for that. ambassador eikenberry, want to thank you for your service and also wait you make time for us when we travel to afghanistan.
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you work pretty hard over there. and i want people to know that. i was going to ask a series of questions about president karzai and governance because we try to think about this challenge in three ways. security, governance and development. that's helpful to help us keep our focus on three major challenges to get this strategy implemented correctly. but i'll leave that for another day. we'll submit questions about concerns i have about the way he's conducted himself and we talked about this when i was in afghanistan in august. but i wanted to focus on two areas. one is the police and the buildup of the afghan police, and also the militia, the local tribal militias. in particular with regard to the police, and i know this may -- this may be a question for one of your -- all three of you. in washington, numbers get
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attached to issues. and we keep hearing over and over again, and now i doubt the accuracy of this number, that's why i bring it up, 92,000 afghan police and general mcchrystal hopes we can get that to 160,000. hearing a lot lately about the 92,000 being way, way off in terms of police that are -- will need to -- that are trained now. by one estimate, only 24,000 have completed formal training and the attrition rate is 25%. if either of those statements are true, it creates all kinds of challenges and big problems. i guess, general, i would ask you, ambassador eikenberry, i would ask you what can you tell us about the accuracy of those numbers, number one. number two, law enforcement in iraq that can be applied here or not, maybe it is a different
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challenge. >> yeah, just as senator, two points and then i'll turn to general petraeus, i know general mcchrystal will have clarity on those numbers when he talks to you this afternoon, but attrition is a problem with the police. there are problems of discipline with the police. we don't want to understate the challenges that we have ahead of us right now. against that, though, general mcchrystal does have a very aggressive program for partnering with the police. one of the keys we have seen with the police as we have seen with the army wherever you provide good mentors or partner on the ground, good things start to happen. but they have to sustain that presence. it doesn't happen over a 24-hour period. i have a lot of confidence in the plan that he's laid out where he's going to wherever possible expand out the number of partners we have with the
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police forces, we'll certainly welcome a lot of help from our nato allies to expand that kind of capability. >> senator, i agree with everything that the ambassador said. beyond that, we're actually conducting a 100% personnel asset inventory and getting biometric data so we can tell ourself, tell our afghan partners what ground truth really is. beyond that, central command also at general mcchrystal's request hired a team from ran to look at, in fact, the overall effort of afghan security forces and hire some individuals that have had some very good experience in this. speaking of that, a couple of lessons from iraq, one is and i don't want to, you know, sound sort of flippant here, but it is a lot easier when you're winning than when you're losing. the fact is in iraq, during that escalation of sectarian violence
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that took place in 2006, particularly after the bombing of the shrine in in sa mara, there were whole units that were hijacked by myrrhi imilitias bee situation got so bad, and in fact the police are the most vulnerable. we have to be very careful. another lesson is you have to get the organizational construct right. you cannot train police and put them into an area that an active area with the insurgency and expect them to survive. because -- not only are they vulnerable, but their families are vulnerable, they live in the neighborhood, the kids have to go to school, get kidnapped and all the rest of that. we have to get that construct right intellectually. and then beyond that, the partnering piece is hugely important. if you can get the construct right, get the right forces in, that may mean that you end up using more in afghanistan, they're called the civil order
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police which are actually units, they're really a paramilitary force rather than just a local police force. but that's a much more appropriate construct for real conflict zones than are local police. at some point you have to bring in the army. in iraq we had areas where there were no security forces left at all and we literally had to bring in our forces and then iraqi army forces then to get back to the point that you could get to local police going again. >> i'll ask in the next round or submit for the next record for the local tribal militias. thank you. >> it is an important element of this. making sure the warlords don't come out, we don't need more warlords, but do enable and empower local security forces in what is called the community defense initiative. we won't have something akin to the anbar awakening of all, you know, tribal linking as this reaches critical mass and takes
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off and rejecting in this case the taliban. but what we can do is help -- it is a village by village, valley by valley effort and we're using some of our best special forces teams right now really to experiment with this, but we think it is something that has good potential. >> thank you. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you to each of you for your commitment and being here today. thank you, ambassador eikenberry for your hospitality when i visited afghanistan with a number of other senators. you were very new there. we appreciate it very much your hospitality and your direction. a lot of the discussion this morning has focused on what is happening on the governance and development side as well as what is happening with security. there has been discussion about a civilian coordinator for afghanistan, a civilian counterpart to general mcchrystal.
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can you give us your assessment of how important you think that position and person might be and then why we are in the attempt to find someone to fill that position? >> well, coordination, senator, at the international coordination that the united nations level, that's essential to our success. and as well within nato isaf, within that command, the civil military coordination aspects are also fundamental in terms of just trying to rationalize our developmental assistance and ensure we're making the most of our resources. some ideas have been -- have been now to develop both for trying to improve the efficiency there and within nato isaf itself and those are being looked at. >> given the urgency of that position, do you have any sense of what the timeline will be for having somebody in that role? >> i know that secretary
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clinton, at the recent foreign ministers meeting at nato headquarters in brussels, she discussed this with the -- her fellow foreign ministers and i think it is going to be on their agenda for the month of january. >> mr. lew, can you give us any more insight on that? >> i would just make two points. first, there is some natural turnover at unama and it is part of the discussion there as well in terms of choosing a new head of the u.n. mission. and a point that secretary clinton made last week which is important to remember is that while isaf is a very useful, critical coordinating mechanism at the military level, at the civilian level we have many nonnato countries making significant contributions and we have to make sure that in getting civilian coordination we don't coordinate out some major partners. so just a little bit more complicated and that's the kind of conversation going on right now. >> certainly recognizing the sensitivity of that person and who might fill it, i would urge,
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given what everyone has testified to about the importance of the civilian efforts that we move as fast as possible in that direction. general petraeus, i want to follow up a little bit on senator casey's questions about what is happening with the local militia and efforts at reconciliation with some of the taliban. i think i understood you to say that some of those discussions have begun. and or negotiations, i guess, is a better way to put it. i think that's first time i've heard that from anyone and so i just wanted to clarify that that is what you said and how do you envision that going forward? who is going to do those negotiations? what, if you could explain that a little more. >> i was actually talking more about the community defense initiative, which is, again, a
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local, but i'd be happy to talk about -- >> please. >> it is used -- the term is reintegration of reconcilables in afghanistan as general mcchrystal and others remind me all the time. but recognizing that, again, you can't kill or capture every bad guy out there, you need to take as many of them as you can as we did in iraq and take them from either actively or tacitly supporting the insurgency, and, in our view right now, at low and midlevel, try to break them away. and that involves, again, isolating them, securing them from the irreconcilables, separating the irreconcilables who make no mistake about it, do have to be killed, captured or run out. and then helping to re-establish local structures, many of them tribally based, the tribal
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elders, local emoms and so forth. there is an element that has now been formed. it -- one of the individuals helping general mcchrystal to do this is an individual that general mcchrystal and i knew very, very well from iraq. he helped us to the reconciliation piece there, the first deputy i had, sir graham lam. he is a special adviser to general mcchrystal. they have now established an organization called the force reintegration cell. it has a two-star british officer. there is some diplomatic component to it now as we had in iraq. we still haven't flushed it out as fully as we need to. that is ongoing as is the development of the kind of robust intelligence element that we learned in iraq you have to have dedicated on nothing but figuring out, again, is this -- this is a pretty big question. is this individual reconcilable or not? and if not, again, they have to
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be killed, captured or run off. but if they can be, then, of course, you can make them part of this solution instead of part of the problem. and then there have to be certain incentives. you all gave us the authority with cerp to use some of that for reintegration purposes, we can do projects. as we have more closely knit the civilian components together with the military, just one quick note, for example, a great aid official named don laberry, the equivalent of the division commander of the great 82nd airborne division regional command east, and they are partners and we have tried to establish what is not necessarily a civilian chain f command, if you will, but what do you call it? it is a line of -- >> a unity of civilian effort. >> that helps to achieve unity of overall effort. that's the effort in the reintegration arena and then separate from that is this
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community defense initiative where we put small special forces units literally in the villages and helping to develop conditions that enable the local individuals to defend themselves and be linked to a district or subdistrict, quick reaction force and then on up the line. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to echo everybody else's comments about thanking you for your service. and i've been to iraq and afghanistan twice this year. and i'm totally inarticulate to express the courage, the intelligence and the motivation of the troops over there. i wish everybody in america could have an opportunity. i mean this, i wish everybody in america could go over there and drop in randomly anywhere in iraq, afghanistan. they would be so proud of our forces over there. i want to thank that we have petraeus and crocker in iraq, we'll have eikenberry and mcchrystal in afghanistan. and i think you can fill those big shoes. mr. ambassador, can you talk about what has happened, how the
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18th went deadline has helped motivate the government both on the area of training troops and also in dealing with corruption? >> yeah, let me speak on the first one, senator. we know that after the announcement that president obama made about the importance of july 2011 that the ministry of the interior, the ministry of defense, with us together, sat down and rolled up their sleeves and said what does this mean, how can we get behind this? so i think it will have a very good galvanizing effect, but that will be in full partnership and with support of us. and i know that secretary gates had very positive talks with president karzai just yesterday in kabul. this was one of the items of discussion. president karzai is showing his commitment as he has publicly for this date and getting behind his role as commander in chief
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which will be important. his support for this being, of course, important in the development of the army and the police forces. our efforts that we have against trying to improve government accountability, these are long going efforts. senator, as we talked about when you visited me in kabul, president karzai's inaugural address, as i said earlier, we found helpful, we found encouraging, we do have programs that have been under way for several years. i'll give you one example of the progress that we're making in this area. we have something called a major crimes task force in afghanistan. announced several months ago but a lot of preliminary work has been put into it. this will be hopefully the afghan fbi. we have ten fbi agents on the ground right now, dea agents on the ground, military partners with us, the british working with this element. i could go on.
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we have a lot of different initiatives that are out there. they aren't seen right now. they're not visible. we tend to spend all of our time talking about one individual or one particular case. but at the end of the day, it is the spade work going on out there steadily, training of civil servants, training of law enforcement agencies, things as simple as trying to improve procedures. minister of finance recently told secretary clinton at dinner, very proudly, that he had overseen an effort in kabul to reduce the steps required to get a license for a car from 54 steps in one month to three steps in a couple of hours. that's not a headline story in "the new york times" but that probably has more to give us bigger results in a fight against corruption than one middle level criminal put behind bars. so just steady work. >> general petraeus, just help me through this, we talked in the past and secretary gates was here talking about how the
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taliban reconstituted themselves in ungoverned areas. the strategy we're talking about, we're going to be mainly the populous areas leave large swaths of afghanistan without any real involvement. we have a -- >> but the difference is, of course, in afghanistan we can go into those areas. >> i understand. >> in fact, the taliban really reconstituted as much in remote areas of pakistan as they did actually in afghanistan. there is a great article, by the way, in "newsweek" a month ago, cover story talked about how the taliban came back and i commend that to you if your folks haven't shown it to you. >> the idea wore concentrate on the populated areas but having force available to go into the less populated area to dismantle and -- >> that's correct, sir. in fact, we actually will be increasing our counterterrorist component of the overall strategy as well and general mcchrystal may want to talk to you a little bit about that
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during the closed session as well. no question, you got to kill or capture those bad guys that are not reconcilable. and we are intending to do that. and we will have additional national mission force elements to do that when the spring rolls around. >> have you thought about a strategic forces agreement with afghanistan? >> we have an agreement which covers the status of our forces, not formally called the status of forces agreement. and at this time, senator, we're comfortable with the arrangements that we have. >> secretary lew, 388 civilians outside of kabul by the end of the year. i know you talk about a 10 to 1 ratio. is that enough considering the number of forces, military forces we have to really implement a coin strategy. >> the civilians that are
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there being deployed, on a map there are two dots on each spot, a military assignment and civilian assignment. the numbers are very different. you put one agricultural specialist in a town surrounded by the appropriate afghan, you know, support, that's a program. you don't need a battalion of u.s. agricultural experts in a town. i think that with the increased coverage that we will get with the additional troops, there will likely be an increase in the number of civilians that we need. that's why we're referring to the numbers likely to go up in the order of 20% to 30%. the goal is to fully resource the civilian requirements so that as we go through the plan we have the right number of civilians. >> senator, if i could add to that, just quickly, to give you orders of magnitude, right now in the part of southern afghanistan, we have five u.s. agricultural experts. they in turn are creating a network some of 500 afghans who
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are in turn administering a program that over time will reach out to tens of thousands of farmers. it is not necessarily how many, it is how are they employed what effects are they getting. as secretary lew said, i'm certain that over the next several months as we work with general mcchrystal, and better analyze the implications of his campaign that we will have to come back with a request for additional u.s. civilians to be deployed. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we'll leave the record open for just until the end of the week in case there are additional questions. senator wicker did have that last bit of question. do you want to put that on the record now so we can honor his question and -- do you recall it? i saw you writing notes at the time. >> the question on militias? >> yeah. >> i'm sure if it was a national
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caveat for militias, actually. >> i thought he had one question -- >> we're fine. we're fine. and senator kaufman asked the last question, i wanted to ask you, secretary lew, obviously -- needless to say we scratch the surface of a lot of these questions and a lot remain outstanding. we look forward to meeting with general mcchrystal and follow up on the military side. so i appreciate that. and i know that secretary lew you're always available to us. we appreciate it. yes, ambassador. >> chairman, i wonder if i could also say one -- make one other point here, if we're getting ready to close out. >> please, yes. >> earlier in the hearings there was concerns raised about bureaucracy within the embassy. i'd be the first to say that we operate in an environment right now with our challenges on the ground, with the government of afghanistan, our allies, the friction of bureaucracy that goes with working with our own
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headquarters, we have a surface of bureaucracy. i wouldn't say in the embassy we don't create additional impediments out there in terms of bureaucracy. i would highlight over the last 12 months our embassy strength has increased threefold, sixfold out in the field, during the months of august and september, we had a 100% turnover of our embassy personnel. we as general petraeus said, we reorganized not only ourselves out in the field, but we had a significant reorganization within the embassy, which brings the other agency teams together efficiently and works with our partners in the military in a very comprehensive and indeed unprecedented way. i want to emphasize, chairman, the leadership that we have got in the united states embassy starting with the -- starting with my deputy. it is an absolutely superb leadership, the very best in the world. it goes down to sections, down to the last staff person. so if there are concerns about
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bureaucracy, i would welcome the opportunity, of course, offline to talk to anybody that has those concerns. >> well, that's fair. and i'm sure -- i think there are some concerns but i think it is important thing to work through. the key here needless to say is going to be the ability of the folk out in the hinterland to do their jobs and that will depend on the local security, local leadership, politically, partnering so to speak. it is a tall task, which, again, i repeat, will be so positively impacted by getting something going in the western part of pakistan. that will make the job so much easier. so that said, we are very, very grateful to you. thank
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you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> congress continues its look at president obamas afghanistan tragic this morning when the house foreign affairs committee will hear from the top u.s. military commander, general
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stanley mcchrystal. karl eikenberry will also testify. we'll bring you that live starting at 9:30 a.m., eastern on cspan 3. >> today on c-span, guest"washin journal" is next. .


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